Talking Chips: Encouraging Equal Participation and Healthy Discussion

The Situation

Your students need to develop social skills and discuss a topic in a small group.

The Solution

Talking Chips is an effective strategy to encourage students to engage in discussions, while practising important listening and communication skills.


  • Students are provided with Talking Chip 1 and 2.
  • They are prompted with an open ended question by the teacher. In their groups, students will then discuss the topic. When they are ready to offer an idea, they must place their Talking Chip in the middle of the table. This indicates that only they can talk and everyone else must listen.
  • When someone else is ready to speak, the same process occurs.
  • Once the discussion is over and all Talking Chips have been used, students can take all the chips back and continue or cease altogether.

Why is this beneficial? All students are provided with accountability through the Talking Chips. They are also encouraged to actively listen to other people. If students are talking over one another, the activity will fall apart.

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